Can wearing a medical face mask protect you against the new coronavirus? It’s a question many people are asking, including animal owners who definitely are putting canine face masks on their dogs. If it’s a normal surgical face mask, the reply is no, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, told Live Science.
A more specialized mask, known as an N95 respirator, can protect against the newest coronavirus, also referred to as SARS-CoV-2. The respirator is thicker compared to a surgical mask, but neither Schaffner nor the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) recommend it for public use, a minimum of not at this particular point. That’s because, in part, it’s challenging to wear these masks and wear them for long amounts of time, he said.
Specialists receive retraining annually concerning how to properly fit these respirators across the nose, cheeks and chin, making certain wearers don’t breathe around the edges from the respirator. “When you do that, it appears the work of breathing, since you’re dealing with a very thick material, is harder. You must work to breathe inside and out. It’s a bit claustrophobic. It can get moist and hot in there,” Schaffner said.
“I know which i can use them when I need to for about a half-hour,” he added. “However, I have to go from the isolation room, take it off and try taking a little deep breaths, kind of cool off, before I can go back in.”
Although it still might be easy to snag an N95 respirator online, Schaffner advised against it. If a lot of people unnecessarily stockpile respirators, a shortage could put the fitness of medical workers and people who need them in jeopardy, Schaffner said.
Surgical masks – The thinner surgical mask is meant for surgeons, since these products conduct a good job of keeping pathogens from the doctor’s nose and mouth from entering the surgical field, Schaffner said.
In some Asian countries, such as Japan and China, it’s not unusual to find out people wearing surgical masks in public to protect against pathogens and pollution. But those masks don’t help much inside the context of a virus, Schaffner said. “They’re not created to keep out viral particles, and they’re not nearly as tightly fitted around your nose and cheeks” being an N95 respirator, he explained.
“Could they be of some use? Yes, nevertheless the effect may very well be modest,” Schaffner said.
He noted that some individuals wear surgical masks because they are sick with a cold or even the flu plus they don’t would like to get others sick. But if you’re sick, it’s best just not to go to public areas. “That’s the time to keep home,” Schaffner said.
People sick with COVID-19, however, should wear face masks to minimize the risk of infection to individuals around them, according to the CDC. Medical care workers and the ones “taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility),” also needs to wear face masks, the CDC reported.
People wearing surgical masks should dispose of them after each use, the CDC added.
Otherwise, the best way to avoid obtaining the coronavirus is to, above all, postpone any go to places with known outbreaks. You can also thoroughly wash the hands with soap; avoid touching your vision, nose and mouth xfsvee unwashed hands; avoid close connection with individuals who are sick; and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, the CDC recommends.
As for dog owners putting face masks on their own dogs, a Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong tested positive a “weak positive” for COVID-19. That dog is currently in quarantine, but is not showing symptoms of the disease, based on a March 5 piece in the South China Morning Post. However, it’s unclear the way the dog was tested for your illness. What’s more, it doesn’t appear that pets can transmit the virus to humans, and experts told people with pets to not panic.